Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (11:47): I rise to support this motion. I am not a member of the committee but, certainly, the Port Augusta Prison is a very important institution in the electorate of Stuart. It is pleasing to see that we have made some progress since the Treasurer's famous 'rack'em, pack'em, stack'em' comment a few years ago. I am sure that, while not directly responsible, that attitude contributed to the riot that we had in the Port Augusta Prison 18 to 24 months ago—I cannot remember exactly when it was, but it was probably a bit less than two years ago—where an enormous amount of the accommodation and other facilities at the Port Augusta Prison were destroyed because of overcrowding.

Certainly, I support the motion and congratulate the government on improving the facilities at the Port Augusta Prison. Prisons in the electorate of Stuart are very important (both the Port Augusta Prison and the Cadell prison), and they are both very ably managed by David Oates at Cadell and John Harrison at Port Augusta.

The increase in investment—this $17.73 million, I think it is—for 80 additional beds at Port Augusta is welcome, because we would all like to invest money where it is well spent; and I think that, under Mr John Harrison's management of the Port Augusta Prison, there is absolutely no doubt that that is the case. When he arrived, one of the first things he instigated with regard to new management was that he personally inspect every prisoner's cell in the prison once a week. I think that shows a level of dedication, participation involvement and also leadership of his staff that is commendable. I have no hesitation in the fact that the government is spending $17.73 million of taxpayers' money on 80 new beds in Port Augusta when they are going to be managed and overseen so well.

I was fortunate enough to be at the Port Augusta Prison last week, and I thank the corrections minister for allowing me to visit the prison on a regular basis—of my own free will. I was fortunate enough to see the Sierra Program in operation. I really recommend that all members of parliament should go out of their way to learn a little about this program. I saw 18 young male prisoners looking fit, healthy, bright-eyed, alert, participative and compliant, in a voluntary program within the prison. It works on their self-esteem, their personal fitness, their teamwork and their leadership. This program was brought to Port Augusta Prison by Mr John Harrison. He picked up on some techniques in other prisons. This is a first of its kind in Australia, and already he has had people from overseas looking to gain some of his knowledge and experience. Certainly, we would hope that people all over the world can share in this program's success in South Australia.

He has been able to develop personal and character traits within these young prisoners, young offenders, half of whom, he told me, were hardened gang members before they came into his care. Seeing them at first hand, hungry and competing for success within the environment in a very healthy way—not in an unproductive, unhealthy way, as we know can happen in prison—I think is fantastic.

The investment in Port Augusta Prison is very important. It is one of the most important institutions in the electorate of Stuart, as I mentioned. It is also important because, as we know, the very nature of the prison industry, if you like, means that offenders and prisoners from all over South Australia can be moved to Port Augusta. It is not like a country school or a country hospital that must be in a certain location to provide a service for a certain group of people who live in that district; there is flexibility to move prisoners around. So, I am sure the extra 80 beds at Port Augusta will benefit not just the Port Augusta community but the prison community and the correctional services system throughout the state.

I commend the government for this investment, because it is necessary, because it is overdue, and because it is going to be very well managed by the current management of the Port Augusta Prison.


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